Hotelier takes final London Marathon 34 years after first with Sir Rocco Forte

14 April 2016 by
Hotelier takes final London Marathon 34 years after first with Sir Rocco Forte

Hotelier Neil Kirby is taking on his 30th and final marathon next Sunday, 35 years after completing his first under the watchful eye of then boss Sir Rocco Forte.

Forte had advised Kirby to take up running and sponsored him for the Manchester Picadilly Marathon in 1981. Forte then decided to join him in taking on the London Marathon in 1982.

Now pushing 64, Kirby says this will be his last London Marathon, which he will undertake with Simon Brown, the hotel manager at Kirby's Langham Hotel.

In his 49th year in the hospitality industry, Kirby is not yet ready to hang up his trainers. He will keep running half marathons and is considering an attempt on the 100m record for a veteran. "Usain Bolt can do it in 9.58 seconds, but the record for someone aged 65 is around 12.77 seconds," he said. "I'm happy to try and beat that!"

Kirby has raised £300,000 for charity over the years and this year he and Brown aim to raise £3,000 for Paget's Disease, a painful bone condition. But he says the benefit is mutual and advises anyone in hospitality to take up running, as he often does with staff along Eastbourne seafront.

"I would encourage everyone who works in hotels and restaurants to run," says Kirby. "It helps staff bond as a team and it reduces your waistline. If only it could reduce the VAT bill as well, I would be a happy man!"

Duncan Palmer leaves the Langham, London as MD >>

The Caterer 100: Sir Rocco Forte, Rocco Forte Collection >>

Latest video from The Caterer

Looking for a job? See all the current hotel vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking